MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Stephen Podley is responsible for checking the audio at Miami International Airport.
He runs a department of 16 employees here known as the Tech Shop.
“My work consists of managing, installing, engineering, repairing, troubleshooting, many electronic systems such as public address life safety evacuation public television,” Podley explained.
He has worked at MIA for 25 years. And Podley is blind.
“After I was there about four or five years, I needed to walk with a cane. Then I’ve had virtually no vision for the last eight years,” he said.
His success and desire to help others has led him to become a mentor with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind for people dealing with losing their vision, like his mentee, Marciel Lembert.
“I had 15 surgeries on my eyes, maybe three times a year,” Lembert explained. “From March to today, I learned a lot. How to walk with a cane, cross the street, and now the best thing is that I met Stephen.”
They were paired recently as part of the Lighthouse’s job training program.
“We instantly were very comfortable with each other and in a very short time I consider him a friend,” he said.
The goal is for mentees to gain confidence and knowledgeable advice as they seek employment and to address any challenges Lembert is facing.
“Experience is how to overcome the challenges and there will be challenges. Just taking the train and the bus here, there’s almost every day a challenge some place,” he said.
Lembert was a New York police officer in the 1990s. He has a business degree but had to sell his company due to his blindness. However, he has a desire to continue working.
“I completed all the courses to be job-ready, meaning I can work any place. I’m a consultant, but I want to grow I want to be bigger I don’t want to stay on the bottom I want to succeed,” he said.
For Lembert, visiting Podley at work is inspiring.
“I admire him, cause doing that kind of work and being blind it takes a lot of energy,” Lembert said.
Lembert is grateful for the direction and camaraderie.
“It’s easier to learn with a friend than a stranger,” Lembert said.
Finding his role as a mentor very rewarding, Podley’s overall goal is to empower Lembert.
“You have to fight for what you want. When you put that in your sight and you know what your goal is, you just have to find out what it is to attain it and not be afraid of anything that could stand in your way,” Podley said.
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